Growing up with Superstitious and Beliefs
Many Thais grew up believing that the superstitions heard (sometimes taught) were all true. Some still believe it, even as adults, while others often use it as a joke or to tease friends.
Some superstitions are no longer really taken seriously, although many are still, especially by the elderly, not only in rural areas but also in large cities. However, Thais are very superstitious and most of them – even young people – believe in ghosts/spirits (phi), and there are many rules to follow to limit bad luck and optimize the chance that they stay out of their lives or loved ones. Here are some examples of Thai superstitions. I have also added some from different countries.
- If you hear strange voices calling you at night, ignore them – it could be a ghost, and when you answer you invite them into your house, but on the other hand, ghosts can give you the winning lottery numbers (Mae Nak)
- Do you really want to see a ghost? Go to a place where you expect to have spirits. Remove amulets or sacred objects, look between your legs, you’ll see a ghost!
- At the birth of a child other than giving him/her an official name, the majority will also be attributed a nickname to mislead evil spirits and prevent them from being attracted by the baby. The people you meet will give you their nickname, such as Noi (little, small), Yai (big) Ploy (gem) Mot (ant), and rarely the official. One of the main sources of names is appearance, size, color (Dam, black) or a wide variety of subjects, such as Golf if the father like the game
- Don’t “clank” your dish, you may invite hungry spirits
- During cooking, do you flip the food from right to left? If in the other way it means that you are cooking for the spirits
- Don’t align three doors with each other, it will create a portal where spirits can enter
- After midnight you’re sleeping well and a dog barks, it’s probably because he’s barking at a ghost
- Morning dreams are credible because it is the time when angels visit mortals
- Don’t stay at the entrance of the house, a ghost will get in there
- A pregnant woman does not go to a funeral, the ghost of the deceased person can haunt the baby from birth
- Oh, he (she) is so cute! force yourself to be unpleasant and say that he (she) is ugly. Spirits can steal a beautiful baby but not an ugly one
- You dream of a snake that wraps itself around your body, no panic. you will soon meet your soul mate, but you will need to remember the size, shape, and is color, elements that determine and indicate his/her personality and strength of character. On the other hand, if it was black and trying to poison you, which means something bad is going to happen
- You were or are in a relationship and you dreamed of a snake, it’s because someone has a crush on you!
You heard a domestic lizard just before going out, stay home; Thais believe the lizard warns you that danger is close outside
Wednesday and you wanted to go to the hairdresser! No haircuts on Wednesdays or you’ll have bad luck, anyway, many hair salons close that day
You brush your hair and the comb breaks, throw it away right away, or bad things will happen
You will notice that there are many geckos in bungalows, homes, and are usually very noisy at night, but if we hear them during the day, then it is considered a warning of unfortunate events
A sincerity test. A person who uses different tones in the same conversation is not sincere
Babies with birthmarks (angioma) have had previous lives
If your bed faces the bedroom door, think about moving it otherwise you will have bad dreams. But not against the bathroom wall, your wealth will vanish into thin air
If your pet bird makes noise at night, you’re going to have an argument
A bee enters your house, watch it but do not hunt it. Bees are very assiduous insects and bring good luck
Above all, avoid kissing someone in a dream it’s bad luck. But if you see a dead body it’s because you’re going to win something in a lucky draw
Having a mirror by your bed where you can see yourself, will tend to make you obsessed with sex, and don’t let it get dusty dust will darken the future with bad luck
Big ears are the sign of an easy and lucky life while those with thick ears can feel lonely and doomed
Do you want to live long? Don’t walk with your head down, you decrease your life expectancy
Do you like to read in bed? Reading a book in bed would make you stupid
Are you one of those who cut noodles? Don’t do it anymore, because the longer they are, the longer you will live
You are at the table with your partner and you hit your hands to reach the dish, expect a guest soon
During a meal you finish what is left on the plate, it means that you will have a beautiful boyfriend/ girlfriend
Step out of your house with the left foot, and you will have a good day
Better to know, you find a coin on the ground, pick it up and call it the lucky baht or you risk offending your money and drive it out of your pocket
The muscle in your left arm twitches, you’ll lose money but if the right arm it will bring in money
If you get to eat the last piece of food on the plate when sharing with your friends, you will get a handsome boyfriend or good-looking girlfriend
Don’t give a handkerchief as a gift to your friends or lover, otherwise, you will soon leave him/her
Sneezing, someone missing you or talk about you, but if two or three times in a row, it means someone is talking badly about you
In Thailand, don’t trust bald people, they are thought to be shifty and flirty
Everyone loves the beauty of a rainbow! But don’t point at it or your finger will fall
For Thai people, it is important as everywhere else in the world to get married in a beautiful place, but also to find the right date. For this purpose, lovers consult monks who determine from their date, day, and time of birth the day and date of the wedding. This is also the case for those who open a shop, start a business or before laying the foundation stone of a house
You want to marry a Thai girl. You should know that in case of divorce, children born on odd days go to the mother, children born on even days go to the father
Amulets are a sign of power. It is considered that the larger the amulet, the more powerful it is. These amulets contain sacred images of Buddha who possess a diversity of powers such as disease and accident prevention. Some believe that wearing or simply using objects soaked in a special spell by a wizard or shaman will attract the love and kindness from people
- Inn Koo: A symbiotic Deity in the form of a Man and a Woman embracing each other, a symbol of Love to each other. It is believed that the holder of an Inn Koo talisman has Maha Sanaeh’s power over the other sex that will feel attracted to the wearer. Approaching, the person will be powerless against the power of attraction of Inn Koo
- Paladkik, or phallus, is a wooden charm and is very familiar among Thais people. They are now made by shamans or Buddhist monks. In the past, they were used as a charm for boys who wore it around the waist or the neck to keep the pain away. Nowadays, it is used in business mainly in stores to attract customers
Number 9 “Kao” is “the” number in Thailand a lucky number because it sounds similar to “kow na” going forward, Kao is also the word for rice. 9999 is a good sign for future success and those who have the financial means pay to obtain this license plate numbers
You will see many “Phuang Malai” garlands of course in temples, sanctuaries, spirit houses. Stalls, shops, tuk-tuk, and taxi, hanging at the rear-view mirror in the hope of protecting themselves from the risk of accidents
Superstitions around the World
Don’t throw away your broken plates or bowls anymore. On New Year’s Eve in Denmark, they throw them out to their friends’ doors and family. Apparently, it brings luck if you find dishes thrown in front of your door on new year day
Singing at the table is bad luck because according to them, you sing to the devil.
In Sweden when you pass a sewer plate you will notice the letter K “kallvatten” (drinking water), but it also means “kärlek”, love. Others the letter A “avloppsvatten”, which means “wastewater” symbolically interpreted “avburten” grief and misfortune in love. Be reassured if you happen to walk on A just ask a passer-by to give you three patches on the back and bad luck will be canceled
Make a toast, choose beer because with a glass of water, means you want everyone present to die
If someone you know is about to take an exam, go on a trip, a job interview, or do anything else for which a little luck might be appreciated, do them a favor: spill some water on the floor behind him/her
Keep a fish scale in your wallet throughout the year. The tradition begins at Christmas dinner, leaving fish scales under plates or tablecloths to bring prosperity to your home, so by keeping it in your wallet the rest of the year, you ensure that prosperity won’t run out
You like yellow flowers and want to please your Russian friends. Forget it, offering yellow flowers is seen as a curse, and is the symbol of infidelity
Sit down before a trip. According to Russian superstition, sitting down for a while before going on a trip can only bring good luck. It is assumed that the evil spirits will be led to think that you are not leaving and that they will stay behind you
Walking backward is bad luck, it’s supposed to show the way to the devil. No moonwalk there
Watch your step, it is considered lucky to walk in dog poop with his left foot, but it brings bad luck with his right foot, no one knows where this superstition comes from
Don’t wear new clothes on Fridays, it’s bad luck
Like the Italians, Lentils on the New Year’s menu. A tradition that dates back to Roman times and, more precisely, to the coins of antiquity. Lentils, because of their resemblance to ancient Roman coins, round, flat, and brownish, are supposed to bring good fortune.
There is an Italian saying that says that whoever eats lentils can “conta quattrini tutto l’anno”, which translates as “count the coins all year round”.
It is often thought that the wealth a person can expect is related to the number of lentils he or she eats.
Traditions vary from region to region and are generally based on what was available in the past. For example, grapes or raisins replace lentils.
Twisted windows are very common in Vermont because people think witches can’t get in through them.
A common belief in Great Britain and North America is to say “rabbit” or “white rabbit” on the first day of each month brings luck for that month
Former President Carlos Menem is often blamed for the economic crash that weakened the country in 2001 and is considered a “living curse”. Many people in Argentina do not mention his name and use the pseudonym “Mendez” instead. If someone uses the word “Menem”, women usually touch their left breast and men their left testicle to ward off the curse. A few years ago a picture appeared in the press or a man shook Menem’s hand while his left hand was placed near the fly of his pants.
– Mexico and Colombia
On New Year’s Eve, in the streets of the cities, don’t be surprised to see a funny show when families and lovers walk around the neighborhood with an (empty) suitcase. According to superstition, this midnight stroll will bring them a year of travel and adventure!
No number four “shi” which means death
Before falling asleep, children must hide their bellies during a storm, otherwise, if they are not careful, Raiden (the god of thunder) will come to steal and eat their belly button
The Japanese have a deep affection for the number 5. One of the illustrations of this belief is in the preparation of food.
Guess how many tastes are recognized by the language? Five. Umami is the latest in sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavors
Combination of colors. Black, red, green, and yellow in addition to white (usually rice). This design is steeped in the Buddhist tradition brought by the Chinese long ago. It is not only a question of aesthetics. The five colors in fact contribute to supplement the nutritional value of the meal by providing essential vitamins and minerals
The Japanese believe you have to use all five senses to eat. Thus, they organize their meals in such a way that they are attractive for dinner, and this involves the use of expensive dishes. Touch is also important, so when you feel your utensils, these stimulate the appetite. Not to mention hearing. A quiet atmosphere will allow you to hear and therefore appreciate natural sounds
5 Different Ways
The Japanese generally offer meals cooked in five different ways. Raw, simmered, fried, grilled (roasted), and steamed. They believe that serving food prepared in these five ways completes the culinary experience
Five Buddhist-inspired attitudes in eating. which is essentially gratitude for the food one is about to eat and avoidance of greed
– South Korea
Koreans believe that leaving a fan on in a closed room while sleeping can be life-threatening. The “death of fans” is such a common belief that fans sold in Korea are equipped with a timer, which prevents them from running all night
To avoid the risk of failing exams, students avoid eating bananas because they are slippery and the Vietnamese word “slip” is pronounced exactly like the word “failure”
a widespread belief is that anyone who sits on a pillow will experience severe back pain.
A tradition called “pagpag” says that people never come home directly after a wake. Otherwise, an evil spirit could enter inside. Mourners will stop at a restaurant or do some shopping just in case.
Cutting its nails on Tuesdays, Saturdays, or at night is bad luck.
Beating a man with a broom will make him powerless and/or his genitals disappear. But this can be thwarted by hitting the person back, still with a broom, at least seven times
It’s bad luck to leave scissors open, or open and close them without cutting anything
Do you know of any other strange superstitions like these?
Are you superstitious?
Do you think the beliefs control the believers?